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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2019 4:57 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
4.0 - California & 4.0 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)

Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    

Issued for Week of Monday 5/13 thru Sun 5/19

Swell Potential Rating Categories
5 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Significant swell
4 = Good probability for 1-2 days of Significant swell
3 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

Swell #1S Fading Under Chop in CA
2 Gales Forecast for Gulf of Alaska

On Thursday, May 16, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/ Buoy 239 (Lanai) Seas were 5.3 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 4.7 ft @ 16.4 secs from 193 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 5.9 secs with swell 2.6 ft @ 6.3 secs from 42 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.6 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 15.4 secs from 176 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 20-23 kts. Water temperature 62.6 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) no report was available. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 3.1 ft @ 16.1 secs from 189 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 2.9 ft @ 16.0 secs from 214 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 4.3 ft @ 16.0 secs from 200 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 15.4 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 11.7 ft @ 10.5 secs from 275 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was southwest at 16-20 kts. Water temp 57.7 degs (042) and 54.3 (013).

See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.

Current Conditions
On Thursday (5/16) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing waves at head high to 1-2 ft overhead and blown out from northwest wind. Protected breaks were waist to maybe chest high and clean and soft. At Santa Cruz Swell #1S was still hitting with waves head high to 1 ft overhead but trashed by southwest wind and whitecaps early. In Southern California/Ventura surf was waist high and swamped by tide and pretty warbled from northerly wind. In North Orange Co surf was chest to head high and trashed by hard south winds and rain. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were estimated at 1-2 ft overhead on the sets and very lined up but mangled by south wind and lump. North San Diego had surf at head high or so but again mangled by south wind and lump. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and warbled from northeast wind. The South Shore was chest to head high and clean early but with some easterly lump running through it. The East Shore had no swell of interest with waves knee high and chopped from east-northeast trades.

See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (5/16) in California Swell #1S was still hitting but trashed everywhere due to low pressure hitting the coast and originating from a storm that formed on Sat-Tues (5/7) producing up to 42 ft seas pushing northeast from a point south of New Zealand. Hawaii was getting remnants from that swell and with far cleaner conditions. Behind that a series of gales are forecast but all are to be pushing due east or falling southeast offering little in terms of direct swell pushing up into our forecast area until Sat-Wed (5/23) when a decent gale is to track east from a point just under New Zealand with seas between 35-40 ft. A long run of swell might result.

See all the details below...


Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (5/16) windswell from a local late season gale was hitting North and Central CA and not of interest because it was rideable but moreso because it destroyed what was a good southern hemi swell (Swell #1S) hitting at the same time.

Over the next 72 hours a small gale is to develop in the Gulf of Alaska on Thurs AM (5/16) with 35 kt west winds over a modest sized area aimed east with seas building to 20 ft at 44N 157W. In the evening fetch is to hold while tracking steadily east with winds 35 kts from the west and seas building to 23 ft at 43.5N 150.5W aimed east. Fetch is to fade Fri AM (5/17) from 30 kts from the west and seas fading from barely 20 ft at 43.5N 144.5W aimed east. A smaller secondary gale is to form from it's remnants on Fri PM with 30 kt northwest winds and seas 17 ft at 41N 146.5W aimed east. On Sat (5/18) AM 30-35 kt northwest winds are to build with seas 19 ft at 41N 139.5W aimed east. Northwest fetch is to move closer to Cape Mendocino in the evening at 30-35 kts with seas building to 21 ft at 41N 134W aimed east. The gale is to fade from there.

North CA: For planning purposes expect swell arrival on Sun AM (5/19) at 6 ft @ 13 secs (7.5 ft) and holding through the day. Swell fading Mon AM (5/20) from 6.5 ft @ 11-12 secs (7.0 ft). Swell Direction: 187 degrees


  North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height


Tropical Update
No tropical weather systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (5/16) a winter low pressure system was circulating just off Cape Mendocino driving west winds at 15 kts early nearshore for North and Central CA and 40 kts off Cape Mendocino and then 20+ kts pushing into San Francisco in the afternoon and 15 kts from the northeast for all of Central and Southern CA. Solid rain early for all of North and Central CA early with heavy snow for the Sierra mid-morning fading late afternoon into the evening but not out with snow level rising. Friday (5/17) weak high pressure is to be just off Central CA as the low moves inland with north winds 15 kts for the entire state and 20-25 kts for Santa barbara County. Light rain for the Sierra and snow for higher elevations. A broad low is to be building in the Gulf of Alaska with with the front from it nuzzling up to Cape Mendocino late with southwest winds 15 kts there. Saturday (5/18) the front is to push into North CA with south winds 20-25 kts for North CA by late afternoon and 15 kts down to Monterey Bay. Solid rain to push into all of North CA late morning reaching south to Morro Bay late afternoon with snow only for the highest elevations of the Sierra late afternoon. Sunday AM (5/19) another secondary low is to be just off Cape Mendocino with northwest winds 15 kts for the entire state all day. Modest rain is forecast in spotty areas for all of California through the day with steady snow for the Sierra through the day. Monday (5/20) another low is to start building off the coast while high pressure develops nearshore off Southern CA with northwest winds 15 kts for all of California except Cape Mendocino and up to 25 kts for Southern CA though the day. The new low is to impact Cape Mendocino late afternoon wit south winds 20+ kts there. Rain building for North CA late afternoon pushing to Monterey Bay in the evening. Snow for higher elevations of mainly Tahoe late evening. Tues (5/21) northwest winds to be 20 kts for the entire state building to 30 kts later for North CA as high pressure builds in behind the low. Light rain early for the entire state generally falling south through the day. Light snow for mainly the Tahoe region. Wednesday (5/22) a full summer pressure gradient is to take over with 30+ kt north winds over Cape Mendocino and over outer waters down to Monterey Bay with a light northwest flow from Bodega Bay southward. Significant windswell production possible. Thursday (5/23) the gradient is to be slowly fading with north winds 30 kts over Cape Mendocino early fading to 25 kts later. Light winds from Bodega Bay southward.

Snow is forecast for Tahoe for the week ending Thurs (5/23) PM: 22-36 inches and 12 inches for Mammoth

Snow Models: (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts).


South Pacific

On Thursday (5/16) the southern branch of the jetstream was split with the southern branch ridging hard south in the Tasman Sea then lifting hard north just southeast of New Zealand forming a nice trough being fed by 110-120 kts winds and offering good support for gale development in the Southwest Pacific.East of the trough then the jet was falling steadily southeast forming a ridge that covered the entirety of the Central and Southeast Pacific providing no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to push east fast and pinch off on Friday (5/17) no longer offering support for gale development. But a new trough is to set up over the same area southeast of New Zealand on Sat-Sun (5/19) while building being fed by 130 kts winds again offering good support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the trough is to continue to hold together while easing east into late Tues (5/21) moving to the Central South Pacific offering decent support for gale development there. And possibly another weaker trough is to start building southeast of New Zealand on Thurs (5/23). A nice pattern is forecast.

Surface Analysis  
Solid Swell #1S originating from New Zealand is fading in Hawaii and now past it's peak in California (see New Zealand Storm below). Another gale developed in the far Southeast Pacific with small swell in the water pushing north towards CA (see Southeast Pacific Storm below). And another smaller but strong storm developed Southeast of New Zealand falling southeast (see Central Pacific Storm below).

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.


New Zealand Storm (Swell #1S)
Another broad gale started developing under New Zealand on Sat AM (5/4) with 35 kt west winds and seas building from 28 ft over a tiny area at 65S 152E aimed east. In the evening 40 kt south west fetch was pushing east aimed east with 35 ft seas building at 57S 170E aimed east (213 degs SCal/212 degs Ncal and unshadowed by Tahiti). On Sun AM (5/5) 45 kt southwest fetch was tracking northeast with seas 39 ft at 58S 174W aimed northeast over a solid area (207 degs SCal/205 degs NCal and shadowed). In the evening southwest fetch held in velocity but lost a little coverage at 45 kts with seas 42 ft at 58S 163W aimed northeast (202 degs SCal and unshadowed/200 degs NCal and shadowed). The gale was fading Mon AM (5/6) with fetch dropping from 35 kts over a large area and seas fading from 38 ft at 56S 154.5W aimed northeast (200 degs SCal/197 degs NCal and unshadowed by Tahiti). In the evening this system is to be fading with 35 kt southwest fetch aimed northeast and seas 34 ft at 52S 147W aimed northeast (198 degs SCal/195 degs NCal). The gale to dissipate from there with 30 kt west winds Tues AM (5/7) and seas fading from 31 ft at 50S 140W aimed northeast. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Dribbles on Fri (5/17) fading from 1.6 ft @ 12 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 188 degrees

Southern CA: Swell slowly fading on Fri (5/17) from 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 194-207 degrees focused on 202 degrees and mostly unshadowed by Tahiti.

North CA: Swell fading Fri (5/17) from 2.0 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 190-205 degrees focused on 200 degrees and shadowed by Tahiti.


Southeast Pacific Storm
A storm developed Sat PM (511) in the far Southeast Pacific with 45-50 kt southwest winds and seas building from 32 ft at 57S 135W aimed northeast. On Sun AM (5/12) southwest winds were 45-50 kts tracking east with seas 43 ft at 58.5S 125.5W aimed east-northeast. In the evening fetch was moving out of the Southern CA swell window at 45-50 kts over a diminishing area with 50 ft seas at 57S 115W and outside/east of the SCal swell window targeting only Chile and Peru. There's low odds for maybe some minimal sideband swell from early in this systems lifecycle radiating north into mainly Southern CA and points south of there.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/19) building to 1.6 ft @ 19 secs late (3.0 ft). Swell building on Mon (5/20) at 2.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell peaking on Tues (5/21) at 2.9 ft @ 17 secs (5.0 ft). Swell fading some on Wed (5/22) from 2.8 ft @ 15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Residuals on Thurs (5/23) 2.2 ft @ 14 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 184 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/19) building to 1.3 ft @ 19 secs late (2.5 ft). Swell building on Mon (5/20) to 2.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell peaking on Tues (5/21) at 2.9 ft @ 17-18 secs (5.0 ft). Swell fading some on Wed (5/22) from 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0 ft). Residuals on Thurs (5/23) 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 183 degrees


Central Pacific Storm
Another storm started building southeast of New Zealand on Mon AM (5/13) with 45-50 kt south winds and seas building from 27 ft over a tiny area at 50S 174W aimed north. In the evening 55 kt southwest winds were falling southeast over a solid area with seas building to 38 ft at 56S 165W aimed northeast. On Tues AM (5/14) the storm was falling south with west winds 55-60 kts over a large area aimed east with seas 43 ft at 60S 154.5W aimed east. The remnants of the storm to hold while easing east with 45-50 kts west winds and seas 49 ft at 62S 142.5W aimed due east. On Wed AM (5/15) the gale is to fade with winds 45 kts over a small area aimed east. Seas fading from 44 ft at 63.5S 131W aimed east to southeast. No additional potential swell production is forecast. We suspect there are some odds of small swell resulting but the big concern is the southward heading of the fetch. Will monitor.


South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height




Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a far stronger gale is forecast developing in the Gulf of Alaska on Sun AM (5/19) with 40+ kt northwest winds ands seas building from 21 ft at 41.5N 158W aimed east. In the evening 45 kt northwest winds are to be building as the gale tracks east with 29 ft seas at 42.5N 149W aimed east. On Mon AM (5/20) the gale is to be off Oregon with 40 kt northwest winds and seas 30 ft at 42.5N 141W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be just off Oregon with 35 kt northwest winds and seas 27 ft at 42.5N 135.5W aimed east. The gale is to stall off Oregon on Tues AM (5/21) with 35 kt northwest fetch and 27 ft seas at 43N 131W aimed southeast. the gale to dissipate from there.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another gale is to develop just south of New Zealand on Sun AM (5/19) with 40+ kt southwest winds and seas building from 34 ft at 53.3S 167.5E aimed northeast. In the evening fetch is to build to 45 kts from the south-southwest with seas building to 37 ft at 48S 179E aimed northeast. Fetch is to be fading Mon AM (5/20) from the southwest at 40 kt with seas 35 ft at 41S 170W aimed northeast. In the evening additional fetch is to be building at 45 kts from the south with seas 32 ft at 43.5S 157W aimed northeast. On Tues AM (5/21) fetch to fade some in coverage at 45 kts from the south with 38 ft seas at 48.5S 152W aimed northeast. Additional 45-50 kt south fetch is to build in the evening with 35 ft sea from the original fetch at 43S 149W aimed northeast with a tiny area of 39 ft seas at 47.5S 149W aimed northeast. Fetch is to fade on Wed AM (5/22) from 35 kts with seas 34 ft at 44.5S 144W aimed northeast. The gale is to fade from there. Something to monitor.


MJO/ENSO Forecast


WWB #4 Fading Some In KWGA

The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and did not stop, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. As of January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then started building some late in Feb associated with another Kelvin Wave (#3).

Summer 2019 = 5.5 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that weak borderline El Nino condition continue , and assuming a weak ocean-atmospheric coupling holds and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 hold in the +0.8 deg range, there is good probability for slightly enhanced storm production in the South Pacific during the Northern Hemisphere Summer time months. There is slightly increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in slightly increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period. This should be significantly better than the past 2 Summer seasons.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (5/15) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific turning light east over the Central Pacific then turning weak westerly in the far West Pacific. Anomalies were light east over the East and light west over Central equatorial Pacific but strong westerly in the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (5/16) moderate plus west anomalies were filling the KWGA. The forecast is for west anomalies weakening steadily but still modestly westerly through the end of the model run on 5/23 and just barely filling the KWGA. Solid west anomalies are to be filling the East Pacific 5/19 building into 5/23. There is to be an increase in support for storm development now and continuing for the next week.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (5/15) A weak Active MJO pattern was fading fast over the KWGA. The statistic model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO is to be gone at day 5 of the model run with the Inactive Phase of the MJO moving into the West Pacific and taking over the KWGA at day 10 at moderate strength fading some at day 15. The dynamic model indicates a variation on the same theme with the Active Phase fading slower at day 10 and with the Inactive Phase far weaker and making limited headway into only the far West Pacific at day 15. The 2 models are somewhat in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/16) The statistical model depicts modest Active Phase of the MJO was modest over the Atlantic, and is forecast to push east into the Indian Ocean at day 15 and becoming weak. The GEFS model suggests the same.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical model): (5/16) This model depicts a weak Active Phase in the Central Pacific today and is forecast tracking east into Central America on 5/27. A strong Inactive Phase is to develop in the West Pacific on 5/18 pushing east into Central America on 6/11. A weak Active MJO signal is to build over the West Pacific 6/4 pushing east to Central America at the end of the model run on 6/25. A weak Inactive Phase to follow over the West Pacific 6/25.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/15) This model depicts a solid Active Phase of the MJO a bit past its peak over the dateline today with solid west anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast has the Active Phase tracking east while filling the KWGA through 5/22 with moderate plus west anomalies in the control of the KWGA pushing east. A weak Inactive Phase is to push into the West KWGA on 5/28 and pushing east to 6/5 but not totally filling the KWGA and with west anomalies holding in the core of the KWGA non-stop and then retrograding west to 125E at the end of the model run on 6/12.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/16) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was peaking in the KWGA today and is forecast to hold through 5/28 with west anomalies holding. A moderate Inactive Phase of the MJO sets up 5/24 in the West Pacific building east and filling the KWGA through 6/25 but with very weak west anomalies in the KWGA. A modest Active Phase is to develop 6/19 holding through 7/19 with solid west anomalies in the KWGA. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow 7/20 through the end of the model run on 8/13 but with weak west anomalies holding in the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias with 2 contour lines is fully in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to California and forecast to hold steady till the end of the model run. The second contour line is to fade on 6/25. This model indicates that a tendency towards El Nino was previously in control during the Fall of 2018, but has been steadily fading since then and is to continue a slow decline for the foreseeable future, but not dissipating nor turning to La Nina. Basically we are moving to a ENSO neutral pattern bias slightly towards El Nino.

CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (5/16) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29 deg temps creeping east holding at 160W today. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded west to 160W mid-Nov into late Feb. But it made a major push east starting 3/16 from 150W and reached Ecuador on 5/5, but started retrograding and today was at 141W. It appears Kelvin Wave #3 was erupting in the East Pacific. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador 30 meters down. Anomaly wise, gentle warm anomalies are filling the entire subsurface Pacific at +1 degs or greater from the surface to 125 meters down. Embedded in that flow is a pocket of warmer water centered in the East Pacific at 120W at +2 degs (Kelvin Wave #3) reaching Ecuador and west to 128W. This Kelvin Wave is fading fast with no clear evidence of another one in the pipeline. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 5/8 indicates warm water from Kelvin Wave #3 was filling the equatorial Pacific from 155E eastward at +1 deg and stronger over the East Pacific reaching up to +2 degs from 130W to Ecuador (attributable to a Westerly Wind Burst 12/30-1/16 and another 2/12-2/24). There was a new developing pocket of warm water building in the far West Pacific at 140E attributable to a WWB currently occurring. There is a river of very warm water traversing the width of the equatorial Pacific. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (5/8) Positive anomalies were all but gone over the equatorial Pacific except with one 1 small area at 120W. From this data it looks like the Kelvin Wave #3 was dissipating if not all but gone.

Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (5/15) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were steady from 10S to 20N on the equator from 105W west to the dateline but small east of the to Ecuador. Temps on the equator from Peru up to Ecuador and out to the Galapagos are slightly warmer than normal holding compared to recent days. There is some weak indication of a El Nino but nothing strong.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/15): A cooling trend was developing from Peru tracking northwest to the Galapagos then out to 140W on the equator and building.
Hi-res Overview: (5/15) Warmer than normal water was from just off Peru up to Central America west over the Galapagos 20 degrees north and south of the equator continuing west of there to the dateline. It was holding compared to days past.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/16) Today's temps were falling some at -0.022. Overall trend is steady.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(5/16) Today temps were fading at +0.470 today. Temps have been generally steady the last 6 weeks.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (5/16) The model indicates temps were +0.85 degs in early May and are to be rising to +1.10 degrees in early June then holding in the +1.00 deg range into October, then fading to +0.5 in Dec 1 then rising to +0.65 degs on Fed 1, 2020. A weak El Nino like pattern is to hold if not build into early Fall associated with the eruption of Kelvin Wave #3, then slowly fading through the later Fall and Winter of 2019/20 with no more Kelvin Waves forecast. A multiyear warming event is in progress as suggested by this model.
IRI Consensus Plume: The April 2019 Plume depicts temps are at +0.82 degs today, and are to hold in the +0.75 range into October, then fading to +0.70 through Dec 2019. See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (5/16): The daily index was positive today at +2.78, rising over the past 5 days consistent with a fading Active Phase in the West Pacific. The 30 day average was rising at -5.79 today suggesting a fading Active MJO. The 90 day average was rising some at -7.22, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern biased towards El Nino (for now).
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (4/23) There has been no update recently. At that time the index was neutral at -0.01 on 2/14 but has been rising ever since and pushed up to +0.99 on 3/3 (the highest its been in years), then fell some but started rising again and was up to +1.10 today. It is approaching El Nino territory but still indicted mostly ENSO neutral conditions.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan -0.23, Feb -0.55 This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave

Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Sunday (5/12):
For automatic notification of forecast updates, subscribe to the Stormsurf001 YouTube channel - just click the 'Subscribe' button below the video.

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Stormsurf and Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:

Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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